Hygeist (5e Race)

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Beings corrupted into demons by a shadowy cult of the Underdark, the hygeists wield darkness and fears as weapons for power and personal gain.

Physical Description[edit]

Hygeists are best described to be shadowy creatures, often appearing as a humanoid with goat-like features and some chiropteran traits as well. Hygeists are tall and lanky, with spindly limbs. Charcoal black and grey skin, colored by the darkness in which it came into being, covers its body and emits obscuring darkness, making its form seem ethereal. Its two eyes are the most perceivable, shining like lights from its head. Otherwise, its form has a generally humaonid shape.


Worshipers of dark forces gathered to conduct a ghastly ritual years in the planning. Their sacrifice, an entire town, stood before them. Here, they would open the gates Shadowfell and unleash the horrors within to wreak havoc upon the Material Realm. The runes around the city ignited and the sleeping citizens were unaware as the moon in the sky suddenly turned violet. A gaping wall of darkness materialized and swallowed the town whole. Within the span of the rest of the night, the ghoulish dark specters of the realm of shadow descended onto the civilians in their sleep. Many fought for one body, merging into monstrous amalgams in human form. When the first rays of day shattered the rituals barrier, there were only shadows left in a ghost town.

Hygeists have the word "ghost" in their names due to their coming from the former living towns people. However, they are such no more. Now, they are malevolent beings, bent on murder and self-aggrandizement with their newfound physical forms and powers of darkness. The cult which bought on this crisis was caught by the nearby kingdoms, tried, and duly executed for their crimes, but to no avail. The hygeists did not disappear, for the contract made was complete. They would roam the lands forever, dealing grief to the living as their creators had intended for them. The last words of the condemned were accompanied with a wry grin as he was affixed to the guillotine scaffolding:

Long live the dark ghosts.


Hygeists reproduce similar to shadows. Those felled by them will develop a hygeist from their body as the malicious spirits of Shadowfell come to inhabit it. Due to their corrupted spirits, hygeists are no longer registered as denizens of the Material Plane, and are usually banished to Shadowfell. They are particularly dangerous in hordes, which is usually how they tend to show up. They have an innate feeling for the presences of their kind and will band together to raid entire towns overnight. In the day, they retreat to nearby cave systems where they hold the advantage over any who may try and give chase. Most congregate in the darkest caverns of the Underdark, deep where once the chasm once connected to Shadowfell. Illithids avoid them, as they cannot be eaten and are very elusive. They also have a resistance to the psionic powers of a mindflayer, making them quite dangerous. Their packs are loosely organized, with no hierarchy. They are smart enough to organize roles, but they can vary.


Hygeists are greedy and prideful. When they are first born, hygeists tend to be very shy and flee even from each other. As they get acclimated to the world, they slowly turn more and more maliciously daring. The myriad ghosts which create the amalgam of a hygeist can create a chaotic individual. They are often cackling at premises that have no hilarity whatsoever. Other times, they are extremely sadistic, particularly when enjoying a particularly arousing kill. Hygeists do enjoy company of their own, though they are by no means team players. Part of their greed comes from wanting to secure things only for themselves despite being in a pack. The pride is from their feeling of condescension towards the rest of living.

Hygeist Names[edit]

Hygeists take demonic names but from Abyssal, rather than Infernal language. They do not differentiate by gender.

Names: Olmorak, Zaraguuth, Vah'Tuus, Droz'Ganath

Hygeist Traits[edit]

A being corrupted by a shadow cult and twisted into a demon.
Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and either your Wisdom or Intelligence score increases by 1.
Age. Hygeists live by whittling down the body it inhabits as well as shaving off the many influences living within, usually lasting them to nearly 3000 years.
Alignment. Hygeists at their best are usually neutral. At their worst, they are straight up evil.
Size. Hygeist retain a vaguely human size and shape. Your size is Medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 20 feet.
Superior Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Dark Walker. The light hampers your ability, but darkness brings you strength. While in dim light, your walking speed becomes 30 feet. When in darkness, your base walking speed becomes 40 feet.
Night Shade. A shadow strikes fear into those which see it, especially an unnatural specter like you. You are proficient in the Intimidation skill.
Shadow Strike. When the hygeist successfully makes a weapon attack on a creature, it can draw from its shadowy powers to inflict further damage with the force of Shadowfell ghouls. If you successfully damage a creature with a weapon attack, you may force it to make a Constitution saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your Constitution modifier. On a failed save, they take necrotic damage equal to your Wisdom or Intelligence modifier. On a success, they take half the damage, rounded down (min. 1). You must finish a short or long rest before using this feature again.
Fear The Light. As a creature of darkness, you abhor the element of radiance in all forms, as it saps your being of strength. You have disadvantage in saving throws against spells and effects dealing radiant damage. When you take radiant damage, you are frightened until the end of your next turn. While in bright sunlight, you have disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws.
Extraplanar. Your home plane is considered Shadowfell.
Umbral Multitude. The myriad shades which become one in the vessel that is you are impossible to penetrate mentally and resist the powers which try. Even the psionic illithids cannot overcome this. You are resistant to psychic damage.
Languages. You can speak, read and write in Common and Abyssal.

Random Height and Weight[edit]

5′ 0″ +2d12 130 lb. × (1d4) lb.

*Height = base height + height modifier
**Weight = base weight + (height modifier × weight modifier)


When creating a hygeist character, you can use the following table to help flesh out your character, in addition to your background's characteristics. Hygeists were once people, and even the corruption of shadows doesn't change that. What it does is bring out the worst in their traits. Choose one to highlight the dearth of the character your hygeist once might have been.

d8 Worst Side
1 Uncomfortable around magic users
2 Envious of wealth.
3 Devious schemer.
4 Lustful.
5 Compulsive Liar.
6 Kleptomania.
7 Vengeful.
8 Lonely.

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